consciously loosing our unconscious

Conscious or unconscious? We are both. And neither works well without the other.

It’s ironic that I’m using the web to make a plea for more personal contact but, here it is.

After a ten day whirlwind tour with family back east. I left my mommy gear at home and headed out for a super grown-up event, a national marketing conference in Victoria.

As I sat in the stunning ballroom surrounded by familiar faces – the gang from the Kootenays, the gals from Summerland, the Saskatchewan team (they are Rider fans, afterall) and the Atlantic brigade – I thought it funny that here we were, in person, diligently listening to speakers telling us how to improve our use and measure of the myriad of internet tools and social marketing now available. I guess if we really knew what we were doing, we’d have done the conference online with webinars and skype conference calls. But that makes it a bit hard to grab a bite, have a beer or share some laughs in the off hours. And that’s often the best part of these gatherings, is it not?

So, day two arrives. We are all a bit tired from the gala ceremony the night before. By mid morning, the giddyness of a national award  from the night before is giving in to fatigue. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I can still pull off the old high school trick where, head in hand, I pretend to write notes whilst snoozing. And then, it happens. I’m awakened.

A speaker from Attune, an innovation and market research company, takes the podium. She begins her presentation by speaking to the psychology of marketing. The neuroscience of information transmission. The conscious mind processes information 10,000,000 (yes, 10 plus 6 zeros) times more slowly then the unconsicous mind. Which is why, by the way, you remember the name of that actor who played in that movie you saw that time, at 3 in the morning. Your conscious mind may have given up but your unconscious one just keeps on ticking. Our unconscious mind picks up signals from contacts with other people – their facial expressions, body language, memories, beliefs. All without words. It’s not the kind of thing you can pick up from e-mails, text messages or facebook posts. So she continues to speak of the importance of imagery, metaphors and nostalgia in transferring messages (aka marketing campaigns) from one person to another. Suddenly, I understand.

I spend most of my work day preaching the importance of relationships. Starting them, maintaining them, enhancing them and, in some cases, ending them. I speak of emotional connection and consistent brand personality. Of giving people a reason to feel good. Of giving clients a recognizable and reliable experience. And I swear, there are days they think I’ve jumped off the deep end with my touchy-feely approach to the sales of widgets and thing-ma-bobbers.  But then, I spend a ton of effort working out budgets and schedules to successfully justify the time and expense (which, by the way, isn’t nearly as much fun).

Fortunately, I’ve developed a loyal clientele who, I hope, have come to trust my judgement. But now I understand – it’s not about the hours and the numbers, that’s just the consciousness’ fine print. It’s about the unconscious sending signals back and forth. It’s about tapping into each other as fellow human beings. Shared experience. Shared beliefs. Shared memories. This is what keeps us human. I fear our addiction to this technology could seriously transform the neurological ability of younger generations to fine tune their unconscious where the real work happens.

So, I vow to turn off  the digital world more often in exchange for the real world. We need face time lest we forget how to recognize each other’s needs and wants. Our understanding of the world we live in depends upon it.

So next time you post on facebook, tell a friend to put the coffee on or the beer on ice, because you’ll be there in person, for a real change.

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2 Responses

  1. […] "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fsalmonarm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F06%2F06%2Fre-cognition%2F" } In consciously loosing our unconscious, Louise Wallace in The Blahgg Blog reflects on shared experiences in her professional life. I spend […]

  2. Awesome post.
    I feel the challenge and couldn’t agree with you more.
    Next time I’m in Salmon Arm I’ll let you know and maybe we can grab a coffee again!

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